Woven in Govan: Audrey O’Brien

Audrey O’Brien – an Irish-born artist based in Glasgow, who works across photography, collage, sculpture, and curated events through a socially engaged practice – is the latest artist to join in the Woven in Govan part of the Woven Network project.

A background of employment in social care heavily informed her work in Arts and Health, Arts and Disability, and pedology. With both playfulness and seriousness having equal parts in her practice she is influenced by the Dada art movement. Her long-standing passion for this cultural and political art led to researching unfamiliar artists from this period and developing both collaborative and educational programme for community and school contexts. Creating interactive art works and focusing on the senses is essential to her creative exploration. Through working with diverse groups which as residents in supported housing to forest rangers and scientists she is a firm believer in collaborative production and democratising creative activity.

Recent projects include co-creating a self-led guide for Seven Lochs Wetland Park and collaborating with composer Sonia Allori with Sonic Bothy. She contributed to the School for Civic Imagination CCA Glasgow, a structured programme addressing socially engaged research and practices.

Woven in Govan: Alex Wilde

Alex Wilde visual artist who is interested in spaces for social and cultural exchange, particularly those which facilitate the growth of community and community activism. Much if this has focused on temporary and permanent community gardens, cafes and places for play. She sets out to animate existing connections and relationships and create new ones through collaborative projects with communities, using different tools, props and sets each time.

Ailie and Alex will share their Woven in Govan commission (as part of the Woven Network project).They have collaborated previously on the Creative Communities residency with Glasgow City Council (2019) and Manifesto for A Feminist Economy for Festival of New Economic Thinking and Kinning Park Complex (2018) and Swap Market exchange space (2018 – 2019). Both artists use their practice to critique our economic and political systems and imagine new inclusive futures, and each has 20 years’ experience in social and collaborative arts practice.

Woven in Govan: Ailie Rutherford

Woven in Govan is part of the European artist collaboration, Woven Network, with Intercult (Sweden) & PlatformTU (Ukraine). Fablevision is really excited to be a part of it and the first artist will be Ailie Rutherford.

Ailie is a pioneering visual artist and agitator. For over twenty years she has been collaborating and inviting people to become co-producers of work, activate public space and collectively imagine productive alternatives to the way we live. Her work explores the relationship between community activism and creative practice, deliberately provoking and asking difficult questions in order to propose new models for living and working together.

Initiated by Ailie in 2015, and now collectively run, The People’s Bank of Govanhill is a long-term social artwork and feminist community currency project in Glasgow. In 2019 Ailie also co-developed String Figures, a new collaborative software that allows activist, feminist and creative groups working for social justice to support and strengthen each other’s work through de-centralised open-source networks centred on a principle of mutual care.

Memory of Water EU Reviewed

Memory of Water EU was a six-city (Gdansk, Gothenburg-Stockholm, Govan, Levadia, Limerick, Ostend) Creative Europe-funded project which set out to answer the question: What’s next for post-industrial waterfront heritage zones in Europe?

Our lead partner was Intercult, Sweden, and we had a range of NGOs, social enterprises and public sector organisations in the partnership mix. Fablevision was the Scottish partner with t s Beall, the social engaged lead artist responsible for delivering residency programmes in Levadia, Gdansk and Govan. From Ostend, Belgium, the city council arts department nominated street artist, Siegfried Vynck. Levadia, Greece, another local authority partner, nominated performance artist Ira Brami, whilst our partner in Limerick, Ireland, was a visual arts organisation, Ormston House, with visual artist, Mary Conroy. Gdansk, represented by Nadbałtyckie Centrum Kultury, introduced visual artist, Iwona Zając, whilst Intercult contributed film director, Jonas Mystrand.

Being involved has been a massive capacity building process for Fablevision in many ways: our profile and social media presence has been boosted exponentially; our project collaboration in Govan with activists, artists, architects, politicians and planners has first of all stopped the building of 750 high rise flats on Govan’s iconic, A-listed Graving Docks, then supported the developer to change plans and prioritise heritage, industry, tourism and recreation. Finally, by December 2020, we learned that Glasgow City Council has removed the Victorian dry docks site from the housing register so it is no longer zoned for housing. There is no doubt that without international benchmarking (in particular with the historic shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, whose iconic cranes were given protected status, and which, as of December 2020, is well on the way to having the whole shipyard area designated with UNESCO World Heritage site status) partnership with artists and academics, urban lab discussions, and the high profile residencies themselves, none of this would have happened.

An unexpected aspect of the learning and development for Fablevision was the arrival of Covid-19 which could have scuppered the whole project but in fact allowed us to invent whole new methods for delivering participatory artist residencies remotely that involved local people, community organisations and Govan-based artists in the delivery! Substantive research and relationship building gained during the first residency in 2019 coupled with the close, trusting relationships of partners and the expertise, professionalism and dedication of the artists involved, transformed disaster into opportunity and delivered output of exceptional quality.

The benefits are almost too numerous to list but leverage of match funding; the ability to remain within the European project at a time when Brexit is dragging us out; legacy developments like new East European project partners from Georgia and Ukraine and new projects like Woven Network are a few highlights. 

We are very sad that we have been unable to be a lead partner on Memory of Water EU and are now reduced to third country status going forward but we hope this will be temporary and we are determined to continue working with current partners as well as forging new ones.

As the two year journey now draws to a close, you can catch up on some of the amazing dialogues and digital exhibitions of the artists’ work via the following links:

Memory of Water EU – Webinars, Podcasts, Labs, Posts

Memory of Water EU – Artists’ Biographies

Memory of Water EU – YouTube Channel

Memory of Water EU – Facebook

Discover – Create – Share – Enjoy – Protect

Lia Ghilardi, Franco Bianchini and François Matarasso, cultural planners, took to Facebook to discuss the proposition which lay at the heart of the Memory of Water EU project: What’s the future of waterfront heritage zones in the post-industrial cities of Europe?

The discussion, which is facilitated by Liz Gardiner of Fablevision and Iwona Preis of Intercult with contributions from Professor Katarzyna Kosmala, Agnieszka Wolodzko and Roman Sebastyanski, focuses on three strands:

  • The myth and reality of regeneration (Bianchini)
  • The unique DNA or essence of place and how that can be used to shape the future (Ghilardi)
  • The “five capabilities” as laid out in the 2020 Rome Charter, without which the right to participate in the cultural life of the community cannot be exercised (Matarasso)

Full digital content of the Memory of Water EU project, which prefaced this particular discussion on post-industrial regeneration, can been viewed via the following links:

Memory of Water EU – Webinars, Podcasts, Labs, Posts

Memory of Water EU – Artists’ Biographies

Memory of Water EU – YouTube Channel

Memory of Water EU – Facebook

Glasgow Artists Sought for Govan-based European Project

Fablevision wants to hear from artists for community/socially engaged work on micro-commissions based in Govan. The project, which is funded by Creative Scotland and Nordic Cultural Fund, will involve three artists working on a Fablevision micro-commissions based in Govan. These commissions will form part of Fablevision’s contribution to the Woven Network / Women’s Stories – an artist-lead account of the role played by women during the Covid19 crisis.

For more information please see attached link with details on how and to whom you should apply…

Awakening The River

The film entitled, “Awakening The River”, is a collaboration between Fablevision, who co-ordinated the project, STAGE (Scottish Talent Across Generations Events), and the Greek Memory of Water EU artist, Ira Brami.

Directed and produced by Helen Kyle, the film provides a narrative of poems, music and photographs to evoke something of the essence of the river which has played such an important part in Govan and Glasgow’s history. Contributors include: “The Greatest Iron Ship” by Danny Kyle; “Clota, Goddess of the Clyde” performed by Louise Oliver; “Fear” by Kahlil Gibran (translated and performed by Michael Dempster) and “Braw Sailing on the Sea” by the Iona Fyfe Trio.

Remembering the Clyde Puffer

The Covid19 crisis has had far-reaching implications for all aspects of life and the arts are no exception. Fablevision’s sister organisation, Fablevision Studios, was in Govan to video and photograph the installation of Belgian artist Siegfried Vynck’s Clyde Puffer mural. Originally, the project – part of Memory of Water EU – envisaged Vynck working with local volunteers on his vision of this particular aspect of Govan’s industrial heritage and culture. The Clyde Puffer – like its equine counterpart the Clydesdale horse – was the workhorse of the River Clyde.

Hamish Rhodes, Ines Cavaco and Fiona Fleming worked with local volunteer, Rory Kyle, on interpreting Vynck’s vision on the gable end of Quickshift Tyre Services on the corner of Clydebrae and Stag Street.

Marking Govan’s Stones

Fablevision and sister social enterprise, Fablevision Studios, were in Govan on 15th October, 2020, to shoot video and photograph at the start of Memory of Water EU’s engagement and collaboration with Govan Stones Trust.

Limerick-based artist, Mary Conroy, operating within the constraints imposed by Covid19, sent over stencils depicting the Govan Stones for use on the Old Govan Walkway, the riverside ambulatory which runs from the site of the Govan ferry along the river behind Old Govan Church. The stencils are designed to mark the cultural heritage of Govan, in particular, the extraordinary legacy of the hogback tombstones which are some of the finest funereal relics in existence.

The photographs feature Bren MacNeil (who produced the photograph of the featured image), a volunteer with Govan Stones, and Ines Cavaco and Hamish Rhodes, who are engaged on the Memory of Water EU project with Fablevision and Fablevision Studios.

Glasgow Press will create letter press prints of her artwork to be gifted to Govan Stones and sold to help to fund the activities, as well as other merchandise. She has gifted six drawings to the Govan Stones Trust so that they can continue to carry on the collaboration.

Look! Made in Govan

Fablevision’s sister organisation, social enterprise Fablevision Studios, was recently at Govan’s Graving Docks to photograph and video Iwona Zajac’s installation, “Look!”, which was designed in collaboration with Eugenia Tynna and Fairfield Govan for the Covid19-hit Memory of Water EU project. The strictures on movement imposed by Covid19 has meant that artists, Hamish Rhodes, Beatrice Searle and Ines Cavaco, had to stand in for Iwona Zajac to bring this particular element to fruition.

Fablevision is among seven cultural organisations from seven European cities working together on the Memory of Water project: Batumi, Gdansk, Gothenburg, Govan, Levadia, Limerick and Ostend.

“Look!” encourages us to explore the meaning of place and belonging in cultural heritage. “Born in Govan” and “Made in Shipyards” pays tribute to the largely voiceless people and communities who played such an important role in making the Clyde a byword for excellence in marine engineering. “Clydebuilt” wasn’t just a marketing slogan, it was a leitmotif for quality.